MSI is best known as a component manufacturer, but also produces a range of laptops, from compact netbooks to high-powered gaming machines. The X400-225UK is a sleek CULV model that combines a stunning screen and great mobility from its small chassis.

Weighing just 1.7kg, this machine is perfect for life on the move. Its slim design has a depth of just 25mm when closed and is easy to slip into even the smallest hand luggage.

The 219-minute battery life is decidedly average, however, but provides basic mobile usability.

As with the Lenovo ThinkPad R500, sturdy black plastics have been used to increase resilience. The whole chassis feels very well put together for such a slim machine, although the glossy plastic lid is prone to attracting scuffs and scratches.

Large keyboard

Despite its compact design, a suitably large keyboard is in place. It is set quite far back on the chassis – forcing you to lean forward slightly when working – and bounces slightly when typing, but we found it to be responsive and comfortable.

Usability is restricted slightly by the lack of an optical drive and the inclusion of only two USB ports. This is to be expected for such a slim machine, however, and is necessary to provide such compact dimensions at an equally low price.

An Intel Ultra-Low Voltage processor has been used in order to keep power consumption as low as possible. Running at just 5.5 watts, it allows the chip to generate low temperatures inside the slim chassis, keeping the palmrest and base of the machine cool at all times.

MSI detail

The downside is the limited performance it provides. It is also featured in the Mesh – and only suits basic multitasking, so bear this in mind if you require power for more demanding use.

The same can be said for graphics performance, but this is again to be expected, as high-powered graphics cards need greater space and ventilation to run than is possible here. Nevertheless, the MSI is able to run videos smoothly enough and even allows basic photo editing use.

This is helped by the stunning 14-inch screen. The backlit LED panel is impressively bright with vibrant colours and clear contrast. The glossy Super-TFT coating is inevitably reflective, but not distractingly so, and HDMI and VGA ports are in place for connecting larger screens.

While the limited battery life of the X400-225UK means it is not a flawless CULV machine, its stunning screen, strong usability and portable dimensions ably compensate. For a compact machine to use at home or on the daily commute, you could do a lot worse.

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